Employers and potential employees (and some immigration lawyers) are very confused when it comes to H1B visa numbers this year. The major reduction in the number of filings for H1B petitions has risen questions from employers regarding whether there is a set closing date for filing H1B cap petitions for fiscal year 2010, starting October 1, 2009. The answer to this is NO. Cap-subject H1B petitions can be filed for the full FY 2010 season, or until the numbers are all used up. As of 8-27-2009, cap numbers remain available and overall usage remains insignificant. Approximately 45,000 H1B visa numbers had been used toward the regular FY2010 H1B cap.
Also playing into the availability of H1B numbers is the increased scrutiny of H1B petitions, particularly those filed by software consulting companies. This has resulted in higher rates of denials and a general crippling effect on those companies that might otherwise file additional H1B petitions. If the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not receive enough approvable H1B petitions to exhaust the regular H1B cap for 2010, it will continue to accept H1B petitions against this cap until the end of 2010 which will be September 30, 2010.
If the numbers of visas out until October 1st, then employers will be able to request immediate start dates for employees. This may result in some additional filings, as it is more in keeping with the actual needs of employers. I predict an increase in H1B filings as of October 1, hoping the economy will rebound at that time as well.